Planning and managing an event is hard. Not only do we have to deal with various moving parts from speakers, vendors, sponsors, venues, and others, but we are also demanded to always be creative and decisive in handling all the potential issues of managing an event.
This is where event project management comes in: without a strategic approach to planning and managing an event, you won’t be successful. You’ll need systematic methods and tactics to manage different elements of the event, along with using the best event management platform to help you do it all.
Here, we will highlight some of the most effective event project management tips you can use to help you plan, manage, and run a successful event, and without further ado, let us begin with the first tip.
1. Plan and research as early as possible
A crucial aspect of event project management is to create a comprehensive event plan. In event planning, it’s important to consider all the different elements of the event as early as possible.
Take the venue, for example, the earlier you research and inquire for venue options, the more options you’ll have and the more likely you’ll be able to book the ideal venue at an ideal date.
On your event plan you should consider the following elements:
- Theme: theme and type of the event, will it be a conference? Concert? Choose a specific type of event.
- Venue: choose the ideal location that suits the event, guest, and theme
- Budget: you can’t move forward with your event planning before you’ve estimated your budget
- Sponsors: create a shortlist for potential sponsors and plan how you’ll convince them
- Marketing and promotions: how you are going to promote the event
- Team and volunteers: assign roles and responsibilities, plan how many people to recruit
- Equipment: what types of equipment you’ll need to purchase and/or rent
- Live streaming: if the event is going to be live-streamed, you’ll need to set up a live streaming platform and recording equipment
- Registration and attendee management: how potential attendees can register for your event, payment process, directions, and other details related to attendees.
2. Define goals and milestones
A key aspect of successful event project management is to define S.M.A.R.T goals and milestones for your event so you can measure the performance of your team and the event’s success.
S.M.A.R.T goals should be:
- Specific: easy to explain and clear
- Measurable: you can assign KPIs and use metrics to measure progress against this goal
- Attainable: realistic and achievable, important to maintain your team’s morale
- Relevant: has to be relevant and aligned to your organization’s overall goal
- Time-bound: you can assign a clear timeline to the event as a project
For example, if the event is organized to support a product launch, then the goal can be to “sell 1000 products during and 2 weeks after the event”. Then, we can break it down into smaller milestones if necessary.
3. Set up policies to prevent last-minute changes
One of the most stressful aspects of managing events is last-minute changes. Imagine a vendor suddenly tell you that they can’t fulfill their obligations just two days before the event, or a key speaker suddenly doesn’t show up.
Preventing last-minute changes should be a crucial concern of your event project management, and one of the common (but effective) approaches is to include last-minute cancellation and change policies in written contracts for all parties involved in the event. You can include rules for penalties when significant changes occur 1 month prior, 2-4 weeks prior, and below 1-week prior to the event.
4. Test new staff and volunteers at smaller events
Of course one of the key challenges in event project management is managing people, and especially new people. In general, don’t involve new hires or volunteers on your bigger events until you’ve seen how they can perform at smaller events.
You can organize a smaller, even virtual event for this purpose, and if it’s not possible, at least run a thorough rehearsal before the event.
5. Facilitate collaboration and communication
If you can’t facilitate effective collaboration in your event team, you won’t have a successful event, period.
A key challenge of today’s collaboration is when your team members and stakeholders are using different tools and apps that are disconnected from each other. By using a centralized event project management hub like Eventtia, you can minimize this issue.
Create a centralized hub to store important files and documents related to the event like vendor contracts, floor plans, attendee lists, and so on so that those who need these assets (with proper authorization) can easily access them.
6. Have plan Bs and plan Cs
Even if you’ve planned everything meticulously, there are always changes and issues to face: a vendor may arrive late, a speaker might not show up, and so on.
It’s crucial to always have a backup plan for everything, especially the most important elements of your event. If similar issues repeatedly happen in your events, then you might want to assess whether this element should be eliminated entirely from the event or whether you can use alternatives.
7. Negotiate everything
Many, if not most vendors will tell you that their prices are non-negotiable. But in most cases, there are always wiggle rooms you can leverage. This is also why it’s important to plan your budget as early and detailed as possible: determine your budget for each element of the event before meeting the vendor, and start by offering 5% or 10% lower than your budget.
Don’t forget to compare between different vendors and do your research. Also, sometimes it’s okay to pay more if you get better value and/or quality.
Event project management is about ensuring all elements and moving parts are running smoothly so you can have a successful event. So, the devil is in the details.
Fortunately, an event project management tool like Eventtia can help you manage all these details without having to go back and forth between different tools and spreadsheets.